Fallout — Part I: The Vault-Dweller With No Name October 28, 2010Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Blog-along, Video Games.
Tags: Fallout, PC
Since I don’t have New Vegas, and the chances of me getting it in the next month are fairly slim, I decided to go back to the beginning. Not all the way back, since I also don’t have Wasteland, but back to the beginning of the Fallout series. Steam has a pack of Fallouts 1, 2, and Tactics for $19.99. Can’t go wrong with that!
After I snagged the pack, I quickly downloaded the first two games while I finished up Costume Quest. At under 600 MB each it went pretty quickly. Then I tried to run them, and the nightmare began. It turns out that Fallout 1 and 2 do not play well with Windows 7. This particular dislike was realized in a whole mess of rainbow-colored pixels everywhere—even in the FMVs. Tweaking the file compatibility settings didn’t do anything useful, so I was forced to turn to that ephemeral oracle in the sky, Doctor Google.
I ran across several “fixes” for this issue—anything from hacking the ddraw.ini file to running the game in the Windows XP virtual machine to launching the game with the desktop resolution window open. The ddraw.ini hacking actually did fix the rainbow corruption, but caused another issue: oozing artifacts all over the FMVs. So that was out. A bit more searching took me to No Mutants Allowed, which has a whole host of patches and fixes, official and otherwise. I snagged the unofficial 1.2 and 1.3 patches for Fallout 1, and the hi-res packs for Fallout 1 and Fallout 2.
The hi-res packs are awesome. Among other things, they implement a new submenu in the options screen that lets you set your resolution, and switch between 8-bit and 16-bit color mode. Toggling over to 16-bit fixed all the graphical issues I’d seen. I also played with resolutions. 1920×1080 (the same as my monitor) zoomed everything way out. While it was cool seeing more or less the entire map without having to really scroll, everything was a bit too small for my tastes. I dropped it back to 1280×720 and hit a nice medium of viewable map area and sprite size. I set Fallout 2 up the same way, with the same awesome results.
Once I finally got the game running to my satisfaction, I created a character. I am a man with no name. Not the awesome one played by Clint Eastwood, but the one generated by a retarded player who forgot to set a character name. I decided that I wanted to go with a gunslinger type of character, so I pumped points into Agility, Intelligence, and one or two other things that I forgot to write down. I tagged Small Guns, Energy Weapons, and Repair, and I nabbed the Small Frame and One Hander options. I’m still undecided as to whether or not I want to dump Small Frame for Bloody Mess. I might go remake the character, give him a proper name, and change that. It’s not like I got terribly far in the game, as will soon become apparent.
With my nameless character created, I began the game. I’m greeted by a large face with a large mouth telling me that the Vault needs a water control chip to ensure its survival. And somehow I am the only one who can retrieve it. I suspect the old dude is just jealous because he actually has a name. He is not a unique butterfly like me. Whatever the reason, he kicks me out of the vault into a cave where I’m surrounded by rats and bones. Bastard.
The first thing I did was crank the difficulty up for both game and battle. I haven’t played a Fallout game on anything higher than the normal difficulty before, so this should be interesting. I realize Fallout 1 can be a rather brutal game even on normal difficulty, but I’m on an adventure! Lower difficulties are for losers, and people with names, it seems.
Since this is an RPG, and I’m surrounded by rats, I did what any self-respecting adventurer would do. I slaughtered them all. I have decided that in this world, there is no PETA. Consequently, the shift in difficulty was immediately noticeable. The rats died much harder than they did on normal difficulty, and the bit a tad harder as well. I was using a knife the whole time (hey, I’m not about to waste precious ammo on rodents! Especially if they’re not even unusually-sized!), but I’m starting to wonder just how long my ammo will hold out once I start running into things I need to shoot. I did snag another knife and some other ammo off the skeleton by the vault entrance, though. I doubt he’ll be getting much use out of it.
After the Great Rat Hunt was complete, I made for the cave entrance and the world map. Yay, daylight! Now it’s time to hoof it to Vault 15. It can’t be that far, right? I did get into an encounter with a pair of mole rats along the way. They didn’t hurt terribly much—usually hitting for just 1-2 points of damage an attack—but they apparently have quite a few hit points. Apparently with unusual size comes unusual health pools. I kited them with my pistol for a bit, which kept one of them off me for a few rounds. Once they both caught up, I made judicious use of weapon swapping to shoot and stab them every round. Once the first one went down I noticed that the damage the pistol was doing wasn’t that much more than my knife, and I could stab more than I could shoot anyway (3AP as opposed to 5), so I stuck with knifing the bugger. He went the way of his buddy and life was grand. I do miss VATS. I thought I recalled it existing in F1, but I can’t get it to trigger. I’ll be trying that out more tonight.
My irradiated critter sacrifice complete, I continued my journey to Vault 15. I accidentally passed a town before I could stop the autotravel, but I ended up running into a group of fellow travelers who were going that way, and I just hitched a ride with them. It cost a day, but they were such nice chaps that I couldn’t refuse. A day later we arrived at Shady Sands.
I was immediately told to holster my weapons, so I did. I mean, with a name like Shady Sands, what sorts of trouble could I possibly run into? It sounds like a perfectly blissful retirement community. I chatted with the guards at the gate, who were quite welcoming. They keep pointing me in the direction of the village leader, which means I should probably go poke him. Katrina mentioned that Vault 15 was attacked. This may not bode terribly well for my quest. Oh, and I have the option of visiting the radscorpion caves. I am totally not doing that right now. I don’t like normal scorpions as it is; irradiated ones give me the willies. Not that I’m likely going to really have a choice. It is a quest, after all. And I am nothing if not a sucker for quests.
I talked to a few peasants wandering around, who basically told me to get lost. Crotchety old bags. Apparently this is not nearly as nice of a retirement community as I thought. Note to self: ship old dude from Vault 13 here when I get back. I’m sure he’ll fit right in. I wonder if they have Jell-O Fridays?
And that’s as far as I got. The technical issues ate up most of my evening, so I didn’t get a lot of time to play. I did try to pop into the Steam overlay to take the notes for this, but the overlay didn’t work. I’m not sure if the issue is with the game, or with Steam. I’ll have to do more checking. I did find the help screen, however (F1). That was totally accidental, though not unappreciated.
I’m sure the next entry will be chock full of old people, violence, irradiated wildlife, and me screaming like a girl. Not necessarily in that order.